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2016 Pathfinder Program

Pathfinder 2016

For our adventures this year, we took our largest group yet to Rocket City to participate in the Pathfinder Program.  This group participated in the same activities as previous Pathfinder graduates, and it is always so much fun to watch the amazement in the students' eyes when they get to experience all of the different aspects of the program for the very first time!!
 Our group arrived at school at 7:45 am on Friday and made the 4.5 hour trip to Huntsville, Alabama.  We unloaded the bus and took our belongings to the Habitat--our home away from home for the next 3 days!  We were hustled into orientation and had our team photo taken and flight suits distributed.  
Some of the activities that  we completed were constructing and launching rockets, rode the Multi-Axis Trainer (MAT), and other simulators.
Then we went to dinner for our first of many delicious meals at the all-you-can-eat style cafeteria called the Space Galley.  We headed to mission training to get ready for our team's lunar mission.  This is one of the aspects of this experience that trainees become fully immersed in the astronaut training and they walk away with a sense of the many different types of jobs that are involved in the spaceflight program--and they aren't only looking for engineering.  The training session gave students an opportunity to understand the depth of teamwork necessary to complete the mission as well as practice some of the skills needed in order to follow the MET (Mission Elapsed Time) frame that presented to them in order to effectively launch the shuttle.  
The next day we spent time tourning Rocket Park and visiting the Davidson Center--where a full-size Saturn V rocket is on display for all to appreciate and gaze upon.  We were able to tour the museum and our crew trainer walked through the Rocket Park and detailed the stages of space flight history.
This allowed students to learn about the trials and sacrifices made by astronauts and engineers throughout the history of the race to the moon---and beyond.  We were also afforded the opportunity to ride a few more simulators like the 6DF Chair (6 Degrees of Freedom)--which simulates the freedom that astronauts experience in a space walk setting.
 And a personal favorite of mine....Space Shot!!  This simulator helps to demonstrate the feeling of free fall--and it is AWESOME!!  :)
This is not a complete listing of all of our activites, but it does give you a glimpse into the many things that we were able to take part in during our short stay in Huntsville.  As we wrapped up our time together, we were able to be recognized in the NatGeo Auditorium for an official graduation ceremony.  This event allowed the crew trainer the chance to reflect on her experience with our group--she was able to give humorous anectdotal tidbits of the many moments that we shared and made this ceremony truly individualized for our group.  Our trainees were brought down to the stage--front & center--and were individually named as a graduate of Space Camp.  This process involved the ceremonial "flip" of the name badge to signify this great accomplishment.  What a wonderful experience we were able to take part in and that our kiddos from Bardstown, Kentucky joined the ranks of more than 500,000 students who are known as Space Camp Alumni.

NBC Nightly News Visits Space Camp USA

NBC News' Ashley Parrish heads to Huntsville, Alabama to find out what it is like to be an astronaut for a weekend in this piece titled "Space Camp Lets You Become An Astronaut Without Leaving The Planet".  

Check out this video to see some highlights of what it is like to attend Space Camp up close & personal!!
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Bardstown, KY 40004
Phone (502) 331-8802
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